Join me this European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week (16th – 22nd September 2019) in raising awareness of heart valve disease.
It is estimated that by 2040, 2.5 million over 65s will be living with structural heart diseases (SHDs) in the UK. SHDs include heart valve disease and are cardiac defects that demand repair and/or replacement of heart valves.
In my constituency of Ealing Southall approximately 13% of over 65s are living with SHDs, many of whom have not yet received diagnosis or treatment.
How to recognise the symptoms and where to get help if you are worried?
For some people, the disease can progress very slowly and with unspecific symptoms. These include a general feeling of tiredness and shortness of breath, often experienced by older members of society. These diseases can be debilitating, and it is important that we increase the early detection and treatment of these diseases to support healthy ageing.
Detection can be as simple as a stethoscope check of the heart by your GP, but a recent survey found that 78% of over 65s hearts are rarely or never checked with a stethoscope during regular health visits.
Make sure you’re aware of the common signs of these heart diseases and ask your GP for a stethoscope check to examine for any irregularities if you spot the signs. If you are not registered with a GP, you can find your local practice here.
In November I will be hosting an event in Parliament on this issue to discuss the need to improve the early detection and reduce variation in access to treatment for SHD, alongside leading health experts and my Westminster colleagues.